Marpol Annex VI Requirements on Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

At the time, the industry sought to examine both oil pollution in general and ocean dumping as well as land-based sources of ocean pollution. According to Wang, "More significant was the rapid technological development in the design of large-sized oil tankers which required constant rule changes. By 1973 it was evident that the 1954 convention provisions were inadequate or outdated, and by then the likelihood of the 1954 convention coming into force was rather doubtful" (334).

The new protocol ultimately entered into force in January 1978. The 1973 version of MARPOL was comprised of 20 articles concerning general obligations under the convention (e.g., prohibition of violation of requirements, rules for ship inspection, enforcement, reporting on incidents involving harmful substances, and most importantly, five technical annexes or regulations on 1) oil pollution; 2) control of noxious liquid substances in bulk; 3) harmful substances carried by sea in package forms or in portable tanks or by rail; 4) pollution prevention by sewage from ships; and 5) pollution by garbage from ships (Wang 335). Today, the 1973 MARPOL convention, together with the 1978 Protocol must be legally regarded as being one instrument; however, a major change that resulted from the 1978 Protocol was the requirement that all new tankers of 20,000 deadweight tonnage and above must have segregated ballast tanks (Regulations 1 and 13 to Article 8(b) of the 1973 MARPOL convention), a scaling down from the original 70,000 deadweight tonnage (Wang 335).

Another important change in the 1978 Protocol was the adoption of the newly advanced technique of tank washing by oil or the cargo itself, known as "crude oil washing" or COW (Regulation 13b); oil and water mixture was found to be the contributor for much of the operational (intentional) pollution, and the use of COW would in the end terminate operational pollution by tankers (Wang 334).

The 1978 Protocol to the 1973 MARPOL is separate from the 1978 Protocol to the IMCOs 1974 Convention for Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS). The 1978 Protocol to the 1974 SOLAS was approved at the 1978 Tanker Safety and Pollution Prevention Conference which was concerned with requirements for preventing oil explosions at sea, for navigational safety equipment, and the need for increased inspection of tankers as the number of oil spills increased (Richardson 5 & 5861). In the final analysis, the 1973 MARPOL convention was considered at the time to be a major international instrument for ending marine pollution of oil by ship, a view that was regarded as being overly optimistic at the time (Kern 545).

Article 211 of the 1982 LOS Convention provides the general guidelines for vessel-source pollution; for example, Article 211(3) requires the port state to notify others, through the International Maritime Organization (IMO), of requirements to be met before a vessel is permitted to enter the port state's territorial waters (Wang 335). Today, the IMO has around 160 members and is headed by a secretary-general, who serves a four-year term and oversees a Secretariat staff of approximately 300 -- one of the smallest UN agency staffs (IMO 1). All members are represented in the Assembly, the IMO's primary policy-making body, which meets once every two years. The Council, originally consisting of 24 members but subsequently increased to 32 (a 1993 resolution suggested an increased membership of 40, but it remains unratified); the Council meets twice each year and is tasked with governing the organization between Assembly sessions (IMO 1). Membership on the Council is divided among three groups: 1) the 8 countries with the "largest interest" in providing international shipping services; 2) the 8 countries with the largest interest in providing international seaborne trade; and 3) 16 countries with a "special interest" in maritime transport, selected to ensure equitable geographic representation; safety proposals are submitted to the Assembly by the Maritime Safety Committee, which meets once a year (IMO 2).

There are a number of other committees and subcommittees dealing with specific issues, such as the environment, legal issues, the transport of dangerous goods, radio communications, fire protection, ship design and equipment, lifesaving appliances, and cargoes and containers. The IMO's Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, an integrated communications system using satellites and terrestrial radio communications to provide aid to ships in distress even in cases where the crew is unable to send a manual distress signal, was established in 1992 and became fully operational in 1999 (IMO 3-4).

The efforts to provide controls over pollution of the sea from various sources remains difficult to negotiate, but there are several accords on marine pollution that date back to the 1954 Convention for the Prevention of Pollution of the Seas by Oil and MARPOL, the Marine Pollution Convention (Stone 91). The MARPOL Convention is the main international convention covering prevention of pollution of the marine environment by ships from operational or accidental causes; the agreement today is a combination of two treaties adopted in 1973 and 1978 respectively and updated by amendments through the years (MARPOL 73/78 2).

The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) was adopted on November 2, 1973 at IMO and addressed the issues of pollution by oil, chemicals, harmful substances in packaged form, sewage and garbage; the Protocol of 1978 relating to the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (1978 MARPOL Protocol) was adopted at a Conference on Tanker Safety and Pollution Prevention in February 1978 held in response to a spate of tanker accidents in 1976-1977. (Measures relating to tanker design and operation were also incorporated into a Protocol of 1978 relating to the 1974 Convention on the Safety of Life at Sea, 1974) (MARPOL 73/78 2).

As the 1973 MARPOL Convention had not yet entered into force, the 1978 MARPOL Protocol absorbed the parent Convention. The combined instrument is generally known to as the International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78), and it entered into force on 2 October 1983 (Annexes I and II) (MARPOL 73/78 2). The Convention includes regulations aimed at preventing and minimizing pollution from ships - both accidental pollution and that from routine operations; the protocol currently includes six technical Annexes:

Annex I Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Oil

Annex II Regulations for the Control of Pollution by Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk

Annex III Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged Form

Annex IV Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships

Annex V Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships

Annex VI Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships (entry into force 19 May 2005)

States Parties must accept Annexes I and II, but the other Annexes are voluntary (MARPOL 73/78 3).

MARPOL became effective on October 2, 1983. As of April 30, 2000, 110 countries had become parties to the Convention and Annexes I and II, representing 94.23% of world tonnage; of the three "optional" annexes, Annex III (Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Harmful Substances Carried by Sea in Packaged Form, or in Freight Containers, Portable Tanks or Road and Rail Tank Wagons) entered into force on July 1, 1992 and has 93 parties; Annex IV (Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Sewage from Ships) became effective this year. Annex V (Regulations for the Prevention of Pollution by Garbage from Ships) entered into force on 31 December 1988 and has 96 parties (Chasek 67).

In September 1997, the Convention was amended to specify intact stability criteria for double hull tankers. Another amendment designates the north-west European waters a "special area"; these amendments entered into force in February 1999.

At the time, the signatories to the agreement also adopted the Protocol of 1997 (Annex VI) on Regulations for the Prevention of Air Pollution from Ships to the Convention. The rules established limits on sulfur oxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from ship exhausts and prohibited deliberate emissions of ozone-depleting substances. The Protocol entered into force 12 months after being accepted by at least 15 states with not less than 50% of world merchant shipping tonnage (Chasek 67).

Operational Aspects of a Sulphur Limit on Marine Fuels.

As noted above, one of the major requirements in Marpol Annex VI involves sulphur content in marine fuels that has long-term implications for ship operations. The sulfur content of marine fuels has been a major source of concern to environmentalists; indeed, whatever the cause, the global environment is suffering and many scientists blame mankind. For example, according to Mulvaney (1998), "Ours is a water planet. The ocean covers 71% of the surface area of the globe, and constitutes over 90% of all habitable space on Earth. Its total volume is around 300 million cubic miles and its weight is approximately 1.3 million million tons" (29). The enormity of the world's oceans caused some scientists in the past…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Advice on Impact of Reduction in Sulfur Content of Marine Fuels Marketed in the EU." (2002, January 1). European Commission Study C.1/01/2002.

Brewer, Stuart. (2005, March 15). "Marpol Annex VI sets sulphur test." DNV Germany. [Online]. Available:

Chasek, Pamela S. Earth Negotiations: Analyzing Thirty Years of Environmental Diplomacy. New York: United Nations University Press, 2001.

Consultation Paper regarding the European Commission's proposal for a Directive amending Directive 1999/32/EC as regards the sulphur content of marine fuels. (2003, July). European Parliament.

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